New Clause 9 - Late claim for asylum: refusal of support: appeals

Part of Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 27th January 2004.

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Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism) 2:45 pm, 27th January 2004

The 45 per cent. figure is for those people who have asked for support and who therefore go through consideration under section 55.

I shall give the hon. Member for Winchester the latest figures that I have on reconsideration cases, for 19 to 23 January. In that week, 72 new reconsideration cases were received. Most reconsiderations are based on claims under article 3 and, in that week, 54 claims were made under that article. Of those, 24 were conceded and 30 were refused again. There is a balance in the reconsideration cases that are coming through. I hope that I have demonstrated that serious consideration is given to article 3 cases and to issues related to change of circumstance. When the criteria are met, caseworkers make the decision to reinstate the support.

If, in such cases, there were a right of appeal to the asylum support adjudicator, we could be in a difficult situation. At present, there is a reconsideration, which is given effective and genuine consideration and results in about half of the cases brought under article 3 being conceded. The speed at which reconsideration is currently given is also important—90 per cent. of cases that week were reconsidered within 24 hours. If, for some reason, a person cannot have their case reconsidered within that time, they will be housed in emergency accommodation until the reconsideration can be done, so they are not just sent away overnight.

I say to the hon. Member for Winchester, in relation to his amendment, that if we were to institute a process of applying to the support adjudicator, that would certainly be a much longer process, after which people would then have the possibility of judicial review. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is considering a process involving reconsideration, then appeals to the adjudicator, and then judicial review. We would be building into the system layers of reconsideration that I do not believe to be necessary. The model that I outlined would consist of a speedy reconsideration, with the sort of outcome that I mentioned, with the provision that if a case could not be reconsidered within 24 hours, we would house people, and with the bottom line of a judicial review if people were really unhappy with the reconsideration of their case. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that that is a better model, given the numbers of people that we are considering.